The following essay themes are suggestions, which
are meant to inspire you in your work. You may freely modify these
or invent new themes altogether. First, however, here is some general
information, which I ask you to read carefully:
- Essays should be submitted via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you submit an essay in Wiki format, you should
merely send me an email informing me that the essay is ready and
telling me where it is to be found on the course site.
- The final deadline for essay submission is: January
- Individual essays should be ca. 5 pages long,
with approx. 4000 characters (incl. spaces and punctuation) per
page. If a group submits an essay together, you should add 4 pages
for each additional group member (e.g. 9 pages for 2 people, 13
for 3, etc.). Together with the essay, each of you should submit
a full curriculum list, which includes the core curriculum texts,
plus (from the supplementary curriculum) ca. 190 pages (BA students)
or 390 pages (MA students).
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the essay - i.e. if you need to have it corrected within a certain
deadline or if you need to have it graded - please write this
CLEARLY in the email with which you send the essay AND on the
front page of the essay itself.
- Please click
here for some general guidelines for essay writing.
1. In her article on "Fuzzy property",
Verdery emphasizes the importance of labor as a standard and generator
of value in Romanian peasant consciousness. The importance of labor
is also emphasized in several other articles we have read. Discuss
the role played by labor in 2-3 of the articles you have read, and
- on this basis - draw some general conclusions about the postsocialist
2. In his essay on socialist monuments Yampolsky
argues that the socialist regimes successfully negated a linear
conception of time and supplanted it with a conception of time as
static, timeless and cyclical. After briefly introducing Yampolsky's
argument you may do one of two things: (a) View it as an argument
about collective memory and compare it to the discussion of collective
memory in Skultans's text; or: (b) Take Yampolsky's idea about time
as a symptom of prevalent types of social organization under socialism,
and - on that basis - discuss the relationship between Yampolsky's
argument and the general description of socialist society proposed
by Verdery in her 1991 article.
3. In discourse on the postsocialist world it is
often emphasized that civil society did not exist under socialism
and that it therefore has to be created - in part by means of foreign
aid - as part of the postsocialist transition to capitalism and
democracy. Discuss this statement in the light of literature we
have read during the course.
4. Why is gender of particular importance to studies
of the postsocialist world?